If Instagram is our most prominent outlet for mutual admiration, humble brags, and envy, there is one category of post that trumps all: the couples fitness photo. These are selfies side-by-side at the gym or photos that show couples in gravity-defying partner yoga or strength poses, often kissing. They announce to the world: not only have we found love, but we have great bodies, and we’re maintaining those great bodies together (and we probably have great sex lives, too).
There are now hundreds of thousands of posts dedicated to documenting couple fitness and the hashtags to accommodate them: #fitcouple, #couplefitness, #couplefitnessjourney – even #fitcoupleproblems. There are memes. There is a mantra: “Train together, stay together.” (It is true, perhaps unsurprisingly, that participating in physical activity with a partner makes couples feel more satisfied with one another, according to one study conducted in 2000.
Take Brendan Fallis and Hannah Bronfman, a pair of New York DJs who met at Miami’s Art Basel in 2011 at a time when their respective fitness routines were comparatively amateur. A recent Instagram video of the couple doing an impossible-looking partner strength move racked up about 2,000 likes, with a group of commenters tagging partners: “Let’s give this a try tomorrow,” one wrote. Another especially impressive photo of the pair doing a joint yoga pose on the beach got 6,000 likes.
Part of their joint workout regimen was borne out of necessity – working out was simply a good opportunity to spend more time together amid their busy schedules. But it soon became tied up in collaboration and achievement. “We follow people on Instagram who do fitness, and that’s why we get inspired to do some things,” Fallis says. “Now we’re on a pretty serious program. It’s a question of: are we getting stronger? Let’s try things that we see and keep working on it.” When the pair needs a photo or a video taken, they ask bystanders on the beach or at the gym.
Austin Raye and Julian Daigre, a New Orleans couple who met at a cheerleading gym, think about their Instagrams – where they post photos in stunning inversions and twists – as an opportunity to advance their careers. “We’ve combined everything we saw on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, and put our own twists on it.” Raye says. “We’ve made it into a business.”
“Sometimes, we think [about a pose] – ‘Okay, this is going to be a good one. This is going to get a lot of responses,’” adds Raye, who now has over 113,000 followers and is attracting sponsorships. Indeed, “Train together, get rich together.”